Last Updated on January 3, 2021 by builder Aaron Barnett
The best sander for small detail work is of-course a detail sander, of course, you will find a few on the market uncomfortably through Dewalt and Makita cannot be found yet for this tool choice. However, the best detail sanders are made by Bosch and Festool.
Although the Festool is a bit pricy for beginner DIY’ers.
#3 Best value corded detail sander
Ryobi CFS1503GK 12,000 opm, 1.2 amp, detail sander
#4 Top DIY detail sander
Black + Decker MS2000 13000 opm, 2 amp, detail sander
#13 Best low-cost corded detail sander
Tacklife PMS04A 12,000 opm, 1 amp, detail sander
#14 Best multi-function
Hammerhead HADS014 12,000 opm, 1.4 amp, detail sander
Best cordless detail sander
#3 Most oscillations for cordless
Black + Decker BDCMS20C 12,000 opm, 20V, detail sander
#4 Most affordable cordless
WORX WX822L 12,000 opm, 20V, detail sander
The spotlight is on detail sanders. Sanders, in general, have been used to. There are various types of sanders – belt sanders, disc sanders, file sanders, flap sanders, etc. – all of which operate in fundamentally the same way.
The reason why the detail sander stands out is that you use it to ‘detail’ your pieces, either prepping it for a finish or to work on it as a retouch. Detail sanders are great for reaching those especially tight cracks and narrow spaces.
Detail-oriented woodworkers, carpenters, and builders just utilize this tool. If you need something to help tackle a project that involves a lot of narrow and tight-fitting wood pieces, then this is what you’d want. Continue reading through for our guide on the best detail sanders.
Features to consider when buying a detail sander
Reasons to buy a detail sander
Things to check before you buy a detail sander
Know your brands.
It can be difficult not to see Makita or DeWalt on a recommended list. As a specialized type of power-tool, knowing which brands are experts when it comes to production and distribution will often save you from a lot of disappointment and misappropriated expense.
Some DIY names with good track records include Ryobi, Black + Decker, and Tacklife.
Check the durability.
If you want to keep a detail sander for a long time, then it’ll pay off to check its durability. Besides knowing the brand, also check the construction, design, and materials used. An indicator of good, solid manufacturing is when you can feel the entire tool vibrate when in-use.
Check what’s included.
While the application is somewhat limited, some quality-of-life features are made all the more prominent. Dust-collection and spare sanding sheets are always good to have ready. Make sure to have spare sanding sheets available to help you achieve the best sander detail work.
Think about the price.
These tools are known, amongst other sander types, to be more low-cost on average. Consider the price based on how you are to use it, frequency, and work-demand alike. It is wise to invest in more expensive and premium models for the long-term, otherwise, the more affordable ones will do for casual to light work.
What makes a detail sander different from other sanders?
Detail sanders are smaller and lighter. Their entire concept and design are based on being able to reach tight spaces and corners with the prudent triangle tip. As their name suggests, the primary function of these sanders is to detail, that is, to remove acute amounts of material to meet specific purposes.
Detail sanders are ideal for smaller and more intricate projects, as they strip away material more delicately and have lower chances of damaging the surface as opposed to other sander types.
However, if you’re looking for a sander that does corner finishing, deburring, blending, or cleaning up in narrow tight spaces, this is what most auto detailers use.
Corded detail sander vs cordless detail sander
Corded detail sanders of course have power and operational time on their side. When working on particularly intricate projects that require precision and consistency, you’re definitely better off with a corded model. Corded detail sanders allow you to work faster and longer, thanks to the extra output, and help maintain a level of momentum.
Cordless detail sanders have an advantage in portability and convenience. While they may be a bit heavier due to the battery, their disregard for a power source means that you can bring them anywhere and work practically any time. We recommend cordless models for lighter and shorter projects, or at least to the more mobile user.
Detail sanders that have detachable triangle & square sheets
Detail sanders that have interchangeable orbital heads offer more versatility and finishing options. Because most detail sanders incorporate a triangular-shaped sanding pad, a few notable ones which can have square ones are the Black + Decker MS2000, Skil SR232301, and the Hammerhead HADS014. These models share roughly the same specifications and contrast mainly with design and weight.
The advantage of a square sanding pad is having a more even finish and faster completion times when working on flat material, so they double as a finishing sander.
Does Makita or DeWalt make a detail sander?
Unfortunately, the big names of Makita and DeWalt do not manufacture detail sanders. You won’t even see them on best detail sander reviews. They focus more on creating versatile tools and those closer to professional standards. For example, Makita finishing sanders . If demand is great enough, then we might see detail sanders from these two names in the near future.
Choosing the top detail sander
No need to keep on going through different detail sander reviews. We’ve prepared our recommended corded and cordless ones so you don’t have to keep asking what is the best detail sander?
Most powerful corded detail sander
Not only is the Bosch PSM80A the lightest, but it’s also the best-corded one. Utilizing a new shape design for its sanding pad, it is able to easily reach the tightest of nooks and crannies. This sander is able to turn its pad in three directions, allowing for even greater access and ease when working to hit-the-right-spot.
It’s compact and very easy to use. With a specialized micro-filtering system and an output of up to 11,250OPM, this unit not only works efficiently but also cleanly, removing all but the most persistent of dust and material debris. Need an accurate tool that’ll allow you to work long? This is it. The best detail sander.
Top cordless detail sander
In the other corner, the Ryobi P401 One+ is the best cordless model. Also, the lightest in its category, the portability of this sander is but further complemented by the inclusion of 3 extra sanding sheets. The Ryobi is no second-rate contender as well; it has enough juice to reach up to 11,000OPM!
The comfortable overmold provides good ergonomics and even though it has no built-in dust collection system, an onboard dust port allows you to hook up your favorite shop vacuum. Don’t worry about battery constraints, because this is able to utilize any other One+ 18V battery – perfect if you own other Ryobi One+ tools.
Best value corded detail sander
The Ryobi CFS1503GK takes the spot of best value corded detail sander. It’s exceptionally powerful, reaching an OPM of up to 12,000, and very well-covered comes including 10pcs of sanding sheets.
While it does not have a dust port like the Ryobi One+, it has an on-board dust collector and a dust-protected activation switch. Capable and clean, this tool is as good as any premium model.
Best low-cost corded detail sander
Look at the Tacklife PMS04A if you’re on a tight budget. It has a respectable 1-amp of power, a built-in vacuum connector, and a whopping 20 extra sanding sheets – these many spares allow you to really go ham on projects and take on higher workloads.
For what it’s worth, you get a decent tool that’s light and surprisingly ergonomic. This sander is good for general detail-sanding applications and most casual work. Since 2021 has come up, consider getting this as a gift.
What other tools should you consider instead?
Depending on the project, alternatives to the detail sander are other, larger sander types. Cover more surface area and chip off more material with the likes of belt sanders and random orbital sanders. Regardless of what kind of sander you’ll use, just bear in mind that these mostly cater to wood.
If you are looking for the best small detail sander? If you want something that can sand and take on other material, then we recommend looking at a multi-tool, like the DeWalt oscillating tool . The oscillating tool can have multiple head attachments to perform a variety of jobs via back and forth oscillation. You can attach a sanding pad to make it into a smaller detail sander alternative, and also a cutting blade to cut and remove things like grout and thin flooring.
Another useful tool that gives a final smoothen on wooden surfaces is a finishing sander, it gives that final sand for a very fine surface .
How to operate a detail sander?
Also called a ‘Mouse’ sander, these excel at reaching corners and tight spaces thanks to their lightness and compact size. Turn on the sander and select a setting you’re comfortable with. Once you’ve identified the area you’re to work on, gently place the sanding head onto it at an angle. Slowly move back and forth until you are happy with the result. Repeat the process until you’ve completed the piece.
Balancing control and power of a detail sander
Detail sanders were designed to be small and precise, so you wouldn’t normally take these to work on industrial-level projects. A widely accepted principle is that working slower is better since you’d want to take small amounts of material at a time. You get more control at lower settings, the only real difference between working at 6,000 OPM and 12,000 OPM is how fast you’ll finish the job.
Taking care of your detail sander
Tips for using a detail sander
Comparing corded detail sanders
|Bosch PSM80A||Festool 201228||Ryobi CFS1503GK||Black + Decker MS2000||Skil SR232301||WEN 6301||Black + Decker BDEMS60||Skil SR250801||Galax Pro QD6306C||Tacklife PMS01A||Tacklife PMS02B||Wesco WS4067U||Tacklife PMS04A 1||Hammerhead HADS014|
|Verdict:||Most powerful corded||Best value corded||Most affordable|
|Weight:||1.98 lbs||2.5 lbs||3 lbs||4 lbs||2.6 lbs||2.5 lbs||2.8lbs||2.3 lbs||3.2 lbs||3 lbs||3.3 lbs||2.14 lbs||2.94 lbs||3.25 lbs|
|Speed:||11250 opm||6,000-12,000 opm||12,000 opm||13000 opm||13,500 opm||13,500 opm||14,000 opm||12,000 opm||12,000 opm||12,000 opm||12,000 opm||14,000 opm||12,000 opm||12,000 opm|
|Motor:||80 W||250 W||1.2 amp||2 amp||1.2 amp||1 amp||1.2 amp||1 amp||1.6 amp||1.1 amp||1.67 amp||1.3 amp||1 amp||1.4 amp|
|Sandpaper:||3 pcs||na||10 pcs||Assorted||12 pcs||na||12 pcs||3 pcs||10 pcs||12 pcs||20 pcs||12 pcs||20 pcs||12 pcs|
Comparing cordless detail sanders
|Ryobi P401||Porter cable PCCW201B||Black + Decker BDCMS20C||WORX WX822L|
|Verdict:||Most powerful cordless|
|Weight:||1.4 lbs||2.49 lbs||3.76 lbs||1.8 lbs|
|Speed:||11,000 opm||9,000-11,000 opm||12,000 opm||12,000 opm|
|Sandpaper:||3 pcs||na||12 pcs||6 pcs|
If you want the best-corded detail sander, then go for the Bosch PSM80A. Its high OPM and the micro-filter system make your work fast and clean. The 3-directional head also allows for some nice maneuvering. The cordless counterpart to this is the Ryobi P401 One+ with its very lightweight, extra sanding sheets, and proprietary line-compatible battery.
Look to the corded Ryobi CFS1503GK for best value; one with its exceptional power, numerous spare sheets, and dust collection and mitigation features. And of course who couldn’t forget about the Tacklife PMS04A for its affordability and adequate performance. With 20 sanding sheets, this thing allows you to work all day!
And there you have it, those were the best detail sanders we could find; which one is best for you is up to you to review – use this guide to pinpoint that bad boy.
By the way, here’s our recommended set of tools to partner with your detail sander for your wood carving projects .
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